SPEECH BY PROF. NGUYEN VIET TIEN
Vice Minister, Ministry of Health
Distinguished delegates from Asia Pacific regions
Colleagues and Friends
Ladies and gentlemen, good morning to you all
On behalf of the government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all distinguished delegates throughout the Asia-Pacific region at the 9th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights.
It is our great honor to receive you all in the richness of your diversity, from decision makers, managers, service providers, scholars, researchers and advocators to youth, representing government, non-government and private organizations in the largest annual scientific and advocacy forum on Reproductive and Sexual Health led by Civil Society Organizations in the Asia-Pacific region.
As you know the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)-the premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region completed its meetings only two weeks ago in Vietnam with strong follow-up recommendations and actions for sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the region for the coming years. It is evident that although the region has experienced rapid growth and transition in recent years,the benefits and costs of development are, however, not shared equitably among the countries and people of the region. In health, and specifically in sexual and reproductive health, poor and vulnerable communities often miss out on good quality treatment and services. In addition, increased commercialization and privatization gives members of wealthier sections of society more choice when it comes to health care, while it may restrict access to health services amongst marginalized populations. This situation is particularly worrisome given that universal health coverage is often absent or inadequate, and does not always include sexual and reproductive healthcare in many countries throughout the region. Moreover, political, cultural and religious values discriminate against women, adolescentsand sexual minorities, and social exclusion often acts as a real barrier for many in accessing information and services.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Over the past 20 years, Viet Nam has made considerable progress in implementing the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Together with socio-economic development in our country, the health status of the Vietnamese people, particularly in relation to sexual and reproductive health has substantially improved. In 2015, the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate was 80%, and Maternal Mortality Ratio was 60 per 100,000 live births. With this profound progress, Viet Nam was one of the few developing countries around the world to have achieved MDGs 4 and 5 by 2015. Although the country has achieved targets of MDGs 4 and 5 at the national level, disparities and inequalities in sexual and reproductive health still remain amongst vulnerable and marginalized populations. In the coming years, besides policies that aim at stimulating socio-economic growth, sustainable development and social security, we the Party, Government and National Assembly of Viet Nam will continue to focus our efforts to reduce and eliminate disparities and inequities on health in general and sexual and reproductive health in particular, towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. I would like to highlight some of our strategies for the period 2016-2020:
1. Continue to increase national and sub-national investment on health, with strong priorities on strengthening primary health care, particularly skilled human resources for ethnic minorities and difficult-to-reach areas.Carry out health care financing reform toensure universal health coverage that includes sexual and reproductive health.
2. Continue to promote human rights as clearly indicated in our newly approved Constitution by ensuring informed choicesfor all in sexual and reproductive health.
3. Immediately improve access and utilization of quality youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services and information and enhance effectiveness of age-appropriate and culturally-sensitive comprehensive sexuality education.
4. Promotestrong partnerships betweenpublic sector, private sector and CSOsto ensure access to and utilization of quality sexual and reproductive health services.
5. Develop and implement the legal framework to appropriately respond to key population dynamics including population aging, migration and urbanization, imbalance in the sex ratio at birth and gender inequalities.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The key objectives of the Conference are to assess the regional progress and updated technologies, and to take stock of many good practices, lessons learned, as well as address constraints encountered in meeting our commitments to ICPD, MDGs and the newly approved Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). I am optimistic that the Ninth conference will provide an excellent platform for all of us toshare experiences andlessons learn from each other and build up effective networking and collaboration for future work.
On behalf of the Government of Viet Nam, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to the International Steering Committee of the Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights in choosing Ha Long, Vietnam to host itsNinth conference. We highly appreciate the continuous efforts ofthe Vietnam Public Health Association and its local partners over the past 2 years in making all programme and logistical preparations for the conference. I would also like to thank national and international donors, particularly UNFPA, Packard Foundation and the Ford Foundation for their valuable technical and financial support to the conference.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This Ninth conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights is organized in Ha Long Bay, the Seventh Wonder of the World. I truly hope that you will have three interesting, engaging and fruitful days at the conference and also sometime to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and rich culture of the area as well asexperience the vibrant hospitality of the local communities. My overall wish isthat every one of you leaves with unforgettable memories of your time here.
I also wish you health and happiness andthank you greatly for your attention!
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